May 3rd, 2020

Mephisto 3113 - Tim Moorey

Well aren't I silly - I had an incorrect entry - did not spot BRAWL. There goes my chance for a prize I am ineligible for and that is not in stock!

Greetings all - hope you are staying safe and sane!

Since I do the odd-numbered Mephistos, I rarely get a celebratory puzzle, so welcome to this palindromic offering! Good puzzle for wordplay as there were a lot of unfamilar terms in the grid.  Speaking of the grid, I like that it has 90-degree symmetry, but the bars do kind of cut it up into four mini-puzzles that meet in the middle.

In Mephisto puzzles definitions (underlined) can be confirmed in Chambers so I will focus on the wordplay here.

Away we go...

4 Dee for example, New Age choir leader in Perth? (9)
LETTER-GAE - dee is a LETTER, then an anagram of AGE. The link between LETTER-GAE and choir leader is PRECENTOR, both new terms to me
10 During brief kiss, one’s showing male and female characteristics (8)
INTERSEX -  IN(during), TERSE(brief), X(kiss)
11 Lily has a change of direction in compound (4)
ALUM - the lily is an ARUM, change R for L
12 Verse and German dance boring French company (6)
STANZA - TANZ(German for "dance" as a noun) inside SA (Societe Anonyme, French company)
13 Capital invested originally in Hardy hit (6)
RIYADH - first letter of Invested inside an anagram of HARDY - capital of Saudi Arabia. A cousin of mine was working there for a while and invited me to visit, but I decided against it.
14 Wandering tribe, debauched by the sound of it (5)
HORDE - sounds like WHORED(debauched)
15 Rob mostly after a shot making no angle (6)
AGONIC - NICK(rob) missing the last letter after A, GO(shot)
17 Innocent Ealing comedy’s number one for broadcasting (7)
ANGELIC - anagram of EALING and the first letter of Comedy
20 Virtuous son going out more! (7)
SINLESS - S(son) and going out more would mean IN LESS
23 Refuse to co-operate with sporting Knight (7)
BOYCOTT - double definition, the second referring to the former England Test opener Geoffrey BOYCOTT who was knighted last year
27 Priest featured in writing by a girl (7)
MELISSA - ELI(priest) inside MSS (manuscripts, writing), then A
28 Paid out before vehicle duty sent round (6)
VEERED - ERE(before) inside VED(Vehicle Excise Duty)
29 Head certainly returned old gold coin (5)
KOBAN - NAB(head) and OK(certainly) both reversed
31 Leave bedbug and scratch! (6)
SCRAMB - SCRAM(leave), B(bedbug)
32 Shrewd piecework in HQ, billions spent (6)
ASTUTE - TUT(piecework) inside BASE(HQ) missing B(billions)
33 Broadcast admitting tare in Scottish crop (4)
STOW - SOW(broadcast) containing T(tare)
34 Call in popular Italian and stop for a bit (8)
INTERMIT - TERM(call) inside IN(popular), IT(Italian)
35 Note Liberal really upset — it’s trifling stuff (9)
FALLALERY - FA(musical note), L(liberal) and an anagram of REALLY
1 Television screening one old ruler born on a fasting day (9)
TISHAH B'AV - TV(television) containing I(one), SHAH(old ruler), B(born), A.
2 Merchant advanced weird notion (7)
ANTONIO - A(advanced) then an anagram of NOTION. Reference to The Merchant of Venice
3 Pole set on getting grass in Glasgow (4)
STAR - S(pole), TAR(set on)
4 Bank on upset after mixture with no little Bass (6)
LENDER - RE(on) reversed after BLEND(mixture) missing B(bass)
5 Old Russian in dire straits (7)
TSARIST - anagram of STRAITS
6 Pressing General during leave (7)
EXIGENT - GEN(General) inside EXIT(leave)
7 No lead in pencil? That’s material! (5)
RAYON - CRAYON(pencil) missing the first letter
8 Looks to hedge pound leading to complaint (8)
GLANDERS - GANDERS(looks) containing L(pound)
9 Car’s first for outstanding sound (5)
AUDIO - AUDI(car), then the first letter in Outstanding
16 Walton’s advice perhaps succeeded for some of the percussion (9)
CASTANETS - This one I got from the definition - the reference is to Isaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, who might advise you to CAST A NET, then S(succeeded)
18 Sweetener from corrupt clergy leads to local order (8)
GLYCEROL - anagram of CLERGY, then first letters of Local Order
19 Take tea crossing motorway in unconventional region (7)
BOHEMIA - BOHEA tea surrounding the M1
21 Parrot learned after scratching head (7)
ITERATE - LITERATE(learned) missing the top letter
22 S African dish provided by very French composer (7)
SOSATIE - SO(very), then Erik SATIE(French composer). Many of the foods in Mephisto clues sound revolting, but this one does sound tasty. Spiced lamb with apricot on a stick!
24 School dormitory, Dom expelled for wild behaviour (6)
RIOTRY - anagram of DORMITORY minus DOM
25 Heard clergyman in processed food outlets (5)
RECTA - sounds like RECTOR(clergyman)
26 Hard in centre of clubland to get a dance for oldies (5)
CRAWL - RAW(hard) inside CL(clubland). I don't see this definition in Chambers, but it is pretty straightforwar Nope - it's BRAWL - RAW inside the central letters of cluBLand. Whoopsy - thanks for the comments.
30 Sponge filling initially bog standard stuff (4)
BUMF - BUM(sponge) and the first letter of Filling

Sunday Times 4900 by David McLean - pandemic edition

9:53. A fairly straightforward puzzle from Harry this week, with nothing unknown to me in the answers and only one unfamiliar city in the wordplay. A few rather painfully topical clues in this age of pandemic and lockdown. A good fun puzzle in spite of that!

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 One slice of damson on a cold tart
ACID - A, C, I, Damson.
4 Alicia’s not worried self-isolating
ANTISOCIAL - (ALICIA’S NOT)*. Very topical.
9 America, get rowdy about grasping president
ORTEGA - contained in ‘America get rowdy’, reversed. I knew Daniel ORTEGA as the leader of the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in the 80s but I had somehow missed that he is also the current President, and has been since 2007.
10 I throw mud at one from eleven, perhaps
ISLANDER - I SLANDER (throw mud at). 11 being BARBADOS.
11 Country pub associated with poor sailor
BARBADOS - BAR, BAD, OS (ordinary seaman).
12 Ducks like going around space
13 Singer criminal stabbed in error
16 Old royal that freed large snakes
20 A kid free from any awkwardness
22 To cheer up British nurse, it’s correct to get inside!
BRIGHTEN - B(RIGHT), EN (enrolled nurse). Another very topical one!
24 Dope smuggled by stooge with loud voice
25 Casually read a service
PERUSE - PER (a), USE (service).
26 Small drinks … accept shorts?
27 Not even one sister on the radio
NONE - sounds like ‘nun’.

2 My manner entertains southern brigand
3 One royal society girl hugs is a nerd
DWEEB - D(WE)EB. The royal we, appropriately.
4 Ban on dead bats is crazy
ABANDONED - (BAN ON DEAD)*. And another topical one!
5 Port tastes sweet and drinkable ultimately
TRIESTE - TRIES, sweeT, drinkablE. One end of the Iron Curtain.
6 Latin entertained by special men with a dance
7 Is it possible that moods lead to explicit language? (9)
8 Revolutionary story about extinction plans
AGENDAS - reversal of SAGA containing END.
14 One who’s just taken on a local negotiator
15 Might one really be into 6 stars in a group?
BIG DIPPER - the constellation, or a hungry person with a large bag of tortilla chips.
17 Riotous pets I’ll give away
18 Frequent visitor rather enthralled by southeast Asian city
HABITUE - H(A BIT)UE. This city in Vietnam was new to me.
19 Senator suffering great betrayal
21 Editor meeting with topless writers? Heavens!
EDENS - ED, pENS. A bit of an odd word to see in the plural.
23 Horse that kicks one bird